Round 6 of the 2014 Lowveld Bass Trail

Round 6 of the 2014 Lowveld Bass Trail

The July leg of the 2014 Lowveld Bass Trail was held on the picturesque, 811ha Injaka Dam. The mid-winter competition presented a tough challenge to the anglers as a result of the cold and dirty water, as well as more-than-usual fishing pressure because of the multitude of Elite Bass Alliance Series boats practicing on and fishing the dam the week before the LBT competition. Only 19% of the LBT teams managed to bag a limit, and 71% of the field caught 2 fish or less!


Above: Charl and Michael of Team Angling & Outdoor World pulling up to their first fishing spot that yielded three quick fish.


There are tough days on the water, and then there are tough days on the water! Team Angling & Outdoor World did rather well, and were one of only four teams able to bag a five-bass-limit. They’ve now moved up to 3rd overall, well in contention of making the final at Maguga Dam in October.


Above: Johan Rautenbach of Team Stokstyf with the second biggest bass of the day at 1.785kg.


These were the top ten teams at Injaka Dam:

  1. STOKSTYF (5 fish, 4.860kg)
  2. HAZYVIEW MIDAS (5 fish, 4.285kg)
  3. AMBASSADORS (5 fish, 3.905kg)
  4. ANGLING & OUTDOOR WORLD (5 fish, 3.475kg)
  5. BRAYSHAW FILTRATION (3 fish, 1.890kg)
  6. MIDAS SPORT (3 fish, 1.880kg)
  7. WATER & ANALYTICAL SERVICES (2 fish, 1.290kg)
  8. THERMOCLINE (1 fish, 2.205kg)
  9. PINKY & THE BRAIN (2 fish, 0.775kg)
  10. PASSION FOR BASS (2 fish, 0.410kg)

Biggest Bass: Herman Geldenhuys (Team Thermocline – 2.205kg)

2nd Biggest Bass: Johan Rautenbach (Team Stokstyf – 1.785kg)


Above: Herman Geldenhuys of Team Thermocline with the biggest bass of the day at 2.205kg.


The current top ten teams overall are:

  1. MIDAS SPORT (53.7 points)
  2. BRAYSHAW (53.28 points)
  3. ANGLING & OUTDOOR WORLD (52.339points)
  4. HAZYVIEW MIDAS (51.826 points)
  5. IMBONGOLO (46.355 points)
  6. ALIGATORS (46.023 points)
  7. THERMOCLINE (45.86 points)
  8. BULLET (45.32 points)
  9. GO FA (42.615 points)
  10. PUMBA (38.04 points)



Above: Team Stokstyf receiving the R5000 cash for winning the competition.


You can check the full photo gallery here:


Above: Michael Cronje of Team Angling & Outdoor World with three of five bass that secured them fourth place.


FishTalk… with Garth Liefeldt

by Michael Cronje

A lot of people I know love fishing, and I mean really love fishing. However, not many of these people can claim to have a passion for angling equal to that of Garth Liefeldt. He’s one of those guys that gets you itching to go fishing just by talking to him. Garth is the sales and marketing manager of Thornveld Angling Tackle Distributors, and a first-rate social and competitive, fresh and saltwater angler to boot. He’s received Natal colours for artificial lure angling, and has spent 22 years on the competitive bass angling scene, securing over 50 podium finishes in the process. Garth has fished socially in the USA, and is recognized at clinics and seminars around South Africa where he loves sharing the knowledge and skills he’s learnt over the years. Here are nine questions I posed to Garth recently to dig a little deeper into his angling psyche.


Q: Can you describe how you developed your love for fishing? What was the catalyst that started it all for you? MC

A: I would definitely have to say my Dad! The first time he took me angling I knew then that this sport was going to be a part of me for the rest of my life. Funnily enough my first angling experience was in salt water, as a youngster I did a lot of rock and surf angling and going forward this sparked a flame in me to try all disciplines of angling both salt and fresh water, so I moved onto fly fishing and that progressed onto the Artlure seen which is really where my freshwater career all started, once I had learnt all I could and achieved my provincial colors in Artlure I moved onto the social and competitive bass circuits and to cut a long story short here I am today making a living out of my passion and what I love to do. The sport of angling is not something I just do, it is a part of who I am. I never look at a body or piece of water without wondering what lies below the surface and if it is catchable. GL

Q: You obviously really enjoy your fishing. How often do you get out? MC

A: I try and take every opportunity to get out on the water both fresh and salt, but as I am sure most of you will agree, once life starts to take over, getting married and having children, one can very easily fish yourself single!! Prior to all that I would fish anywhere from once to at least four times a week! I am however very fortunate to have the support of my family and this allows me to balance my career in the tackle industry and my angling, even though I don’t go as much as I would like to, or fish from sun up to sun down as I used to. I am grateful every time I do get the opportunity to get out and the most rewarding part of this, is that I am able to, as a father, share and pass on my knowledge to my two children and hopefully have them experience the outdoor life style, the sport of angling, all the awesome places it has taken me around our country and abroad, and all the amazing people I have met along the way. GL


Q: What do you believe to be the keys to your success as a tournament bass angler? MC

A: Practice, Practice, Practice!! Spending time on the water is definitely the most important piece of advice I can give. As with any sport, the more you spend time doing it the better you will get at it. I also had the good fortune of having Mr. Grant Hewitt as partner for many years. His knowledge and fishing styles definitely had a big influence on my career and we are still close friends today, and still enjoy time angling together! At seminars and talks I have done and when spending time in stores and in general, people always chuckle and ask why or how do you practice for fishing. It’s simple. As a competitive angler you should know when you hit the water on tournament day, you have a game plan and through practice you would have dissected up the body of water you are about to fish, by this I mean you would have figured out where your primary spot will be or starting point, where your back up spots will be and which parts of the lake or dam are not holding fish. I also never let things I have no control over effect my day. Things like weather, time of year, dam levels, boats on my spot etc. I apply the theories and what I know about the piece of water and try and use all this to my advantage rather than see it as a disadvantage. Be able to adapt on the day no matter what is going on around you. Local knowledge and info from other anglers definitely do not hurt either. GL

Q: What do you like about fishing bass tournaments? MC

A: Let me paint you a picture. Early morning, sun about to peak over the hill, you are prepped, confident and good to go, a lineup of sleek colorful and powerful machines, the banter amongst fellow anglers and friends, not a thought of the long week you had prior, your mind is clear of all else, the butterflies from excitement as you start up your outboard for the race that is about to proceed and when all your effort comes together and you drive that first strike home and the water erupts in front of you, only an angler will understand the emotion that runs through you whether you are a competitive angler or not. GL


Q: What’s the biggest five-fish limit you’ve ever brought to the scales? MC

A: Heaviest fish in an event was 4.995kg. Heaviest one day bag round the 16kg mark and heaviest 3 day bag in a competition was around 32kg. GL

Q: What has been a highlight for you in the 2013/14 fishing season? MC

A: To tell you the honest truth I had a bit of an average year last year on the bass scene. The only real highlight of 2013 was a real nice GT I got off Durban, and an epic Garrick season! I kicked off this year with one of the best days fishing in a competition I have had in a long time! It was our first event at Inanda Dam in Kwazulu Natal, and we managed to pack in round 11kg but still only came third! The fishing was awesome, and that has set a good platform for the rest of the season. I also got my first yellowfin tuna around the 30kg mark. A really nice way to break the ice with tuna and add another game species to my growing list. GL

Q: Without giving away some tournament secret, what lure/rig is the first you tie on in new bass waters and why? MC

A: As anglers we can’t resist buying lures and most of us have tons of them. This can become confusing! What I tie on does normally depend on what I have practiced or figured out prior to an event, but I will never launch without a wacky rig, lipless crank or jerk bait tied on. For me these baits will often put numbers on the boat when I need it most! I will normally also throw a jig before tying on a plastic bait as well. I like to think of myself as a power angler and like to go find fish and target fish that want to bite or look for those reaction bites, so I apply those types of lures that are going to get those fish to do just that. I try not to get too complicated or over-think things, especially with the volume of baits that are available, things can get confusing. I tend to stick to the basics and will keep myself up to date with new products and baits and if I feel that something new is going to help I will definitely add it to my collection. I will also certainly take luck over skill any day of the week. GL


Q: Who is your angling hero, if you have one? MC

A: For me it has to be Mr. KVD (Kevin Van Dam.) This man has achieved, developed and put so much into the sport of bass fishing. I have had the fortune of meeting him. He is a humble man, passionate about the sport of bass fishing and his business life. I apply a lot of his theories and techniques to my fishing today. His name is synonymous with the sport of bass fishing and has been for many years. GL

Q: What’s something few people know about you? MC

A: I think the fact that I am not only a bass angler. This normally surprises people when I tell them. GL

The End.


It’s another LBT win for Team Bullet.


Nicky Stapelberg and his brother combined for a 2,945kg five-fish-limit, to secure Team Bullet’s second win in three tournaments, and the R5’000 first prize. The win at Vygeboom Dam saw them jump two places in the overall standings to third on the log.


Above: Frosty weather conditions forced anglers to work extra hard to boat those five bass.


Machado Boat Club was the launch and weigh in locale for the fifth round of the Lowveld Bass Trail. Despite the frigid weather, a respectable twenty seven boats arrived for the mid-winter event. The conditions were pretty tough, with relatively small bags being weighed, and only 48% of teams managing their full quota of five bass. A total of 85 bass were weighed at an average of 0.427kg per fish, and 3.1 fish per boat.


Above: Nicky Stapelberg bagging what would end up being the winning limit of the day.


Our very own Team Angling & Outdoor finished in 4th with a 2.565kg five-fish-bag (just 380 grams off 1st) courtesy mainly of the SPRO Aruku Shad. As conventional wisdom dictates, most teams opted for slow, subtle presentations thanks to the weather turning frigid, but knowing that reaction baits properly catch coldwater bass, Team Angling & Outdoor went looking to elicit reaction strikes. If you’re looking for a good way to catch moody winter bass, look into the SPRO Aruku Shad. It flat-out catches ‘em.


Above: Michael Cronje and Felicity Carey collecting the prize for fourth.


The biggest fish of the day was weighed in by Team Chomp. A bass of 1.245kg. Team Angling & Outdoor secured the biggest runner up with a fish of 0.915kg. As far as the results for the competition go, here are the top 10 on the day, and overall:

Lowveld Bass Trail Vygeboom Dam Top 10:

  1. Bullet 2.945kg (R5’000 cash)
    2. Imbongolo 2.880kg (R3’000 cash)
    3. Brayshaw Filtration 2.620kg (R2’000 cash)
    4. Angling & Outdoor 2.565kg (Midas Hamper & Wittus Voucher)
    5. Babelaas 2.225kg (Angling & Outdoor Voucher & Goya Hamper)
    6. Aligator 2.145kg (Midas Hamper)
    7. Thermocline 2.000kg (Midas Hamper)
    8. Go Fa 1.960kg (Midas Hamper)
    9. Loose Goose 1.920kg (Midas Hamper)
    10. Midas Sport 1.720kg (Midas Hamper)

    Lowveld Bass Trail Log Standings Top 10:

  2. Midas Sport 46.820
    2. Brayshaw Filtration 46.390
    3. Bullet 43.320
    4. Imbongolo 43.155
    5. Aligators 42.768
    6. Angling & Outdoor 41.864
    7. Thermocline 40.655
    8. Go Fa 40.615
    9. Hazyview Midas 40.541
    10. Pumba 36.040


Above: Nicky Stapelberg of Team Bullet accepting the winner’s prize.


Congratulations to all the winners, and a special word of thanks to Machado Boat Club, and in particular to Johan vd Spuy of Team Boeta, for making the venue available for the day. Without your effort, and the involvement of all the sponsors, the tournament wouldn’t have been half the success that it was.

The next event will be hosted at Injaka Dam on the 12th of July. For anybody wanting to compete, the event will start promptly at 7am, with the skippers meeting at 6:45am. The committee have requested that everyone please be at the venue on time as launching 30-odd boats at Injaka always takes a bit of time. Take a second to prepare your boat before getting in the queue to launch. Loosen the boat and put in your plugs so you don’t keep everybody waiting on the ramp.


Above: The top three teams. Team Bullet in front. Left back: Brayshaw Filtration. Right back: Imbongolo.


The log standings are incredibly close at the moment, so for each team in contention of making the final in October, it is of utmost importance that they fish, and do well, in each of the remaining three rounds. This year the committee will make no exceptions, and only the top 15 teams at the end of the eighth round will be invited to fish the two-day final at Maguga Dam in Swaziland. In an interesting twist, each team’s worst two competition results will fall away, meaning that only their best six results will count toward the final table. If a team has fished less than six competitions throughout the season, the amount they have fished will count toward the final standings. This is obviously an advantage to the teams making an effort to fish as many events as they can, as they’ll have more chance to accrue good competition results.

Team Angling & Outdoor would like to extend special thanks to Angling & Outdoor World, Suzuki Marine SA, Netbait, Salmo, JJ’s Magic, Penetrator Hooks, Pro Tungsten, Goya, Seaguar, Halco SA, Lowrance SA, Big Bite Baits, Spro, Norman Lures, Strike King, Z-Man, Mustad, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Okuma and Rod Glove, whose products are making fishing the LBT this season a pleasure.


FishTalk… with Brad van Zyl

by Michael Cronje

In this edition of FishTalk, I chat to experienced deep see angler Brad van Zyl. His love for deep sea fishing started way back when he went out on his uncle’s boat called “Tranquil – Liza” (he was a chemist, hence the name). It was an old surf rider with two 50hp Mercury pull-start motors and they launched at Sodwana Bay in and around 1975. As the Mozambique War was ending in the early nineties, he and his friends Carlos Vinhas, Bradley Kidd and Hendrick Weyers found themselves living in a tent on Ponta Barra beach for a couple of weeks, catching disgustingly large amounts of fish from two boats they had dragged from South Africa. After that trip, they spent every possible moment on the sea, saving up money for trips to the most amazing fishing spots. From the far northern Islands of Kenya, eastern shore of Kenya, far northern Islands of Mozambique, down to the southern section of Mozambique, Dakar in Senegal, Ada Foah in Ghana and then the coast of SA down to the tuna grounds of Hout Bay, Cape Town. Here’s more from Brad.


Q: Can you describe how you developed your love for fishing? What was the catalyst that started it all for you? MC

A: It started with a boat ride in Sodwana, but really kicked off on a trip to Mozambique in the early nineties. (See the intro above.) BVZ


Q: Who is your angling hero, if you have one? MC

A: I must say my big mate Bradley Kidd, who mentored me for many years and leaks his passion of fishing to anyone that spends time with him. He is an amazing person that has an abundance of fishing knowledge, not being shy to share it. He builds custom rods, makes up the best possible tackle and more importantly, knows how to catch fish. BVZ



Q: Everyone’s got a “one-that-got-away” story. What’s yours? MC


A: I have lost so many fish, name a species of fish, and I will share a sad story with you. But, yes, I have lost a marlin or two that I would have loved to have tagged, but the hooks pulled out close to the boat and it swam off quite happily. What is important is that we remember the good and bad times of fishing, and that makes us go back for more. BVZ



Q: If you had one piece of advice to give to an aspiring deep sea tournament angler, what would it be? MC


A: Don’t be shy to learn from others, no matter what status you have achieved in angling. Everyone is different and learning from them can only make you a better angler. Old experienced anglers are worth the stories they tell, listen to them and ask questions. Fishing is not a science. Steal vital information from all sorts of fishermen and learn from their tricks. BVZ



Q: What do you consider your primary strengths and weaknesses on the water? MC


A: Preparation is one of the key strengths of deep sea fishing. So many competitions are won from the preparation that is done before you hit the water. We always make sure that we have the best possible tackle that we can afford and that it is made up to the best of our ability to give us a better chance. One of my weaknesses on the boat is to concentrate for hours on end. Drowsiness tends to creep in and that can be the difference between catching and losing a fish. BVZ



Q: What has been a highlight for you in the 2013/14 fishing season? MC


A: So far, it was a weekend with my friend Shaun Brodell and Brent Murray at Inhaca Island. We caught about eight species of fish in two days that included a tagged sailfish, huge kingfish, cuta, wahoo and lots of tuna. Great fun! But hey, I still have an upcoming date with a marlin or two this year, so stay tuned. BVZ



Q: What is the best piece of angling you have witnessed by another angler? MC


A: I was skippering a boat in a National Marlin Competition off Sodwana Bay, and was backed by the crew of Chris Koller, Brad Kidd and Wessel Fourie. They were pulling two live bait tuna in the water for marlin when a pod of dolphins arrived to chomp our two tuna. However, in amongst the tuna we spotted a solitary marlin, all lit up and very excited about our bait in the water. Chris and Brad pulled one tuna closer to the boat, and then they let the other one out further to sacrifice it to the dolphins. The marlin was swimming quite close to the boat, so Bradley fed the second tuna to the marlin. We watched how it took this bait, swallowed it and took off at one crazy speed once it felt the hook snag it in its mouth. Twenty five minutes later, we had successfully tagged the marlin. Spot on fishing! BVZ



Q: Do you set targets in your fishing, or is the thought of being on the water when you get the chance enough to feed the “drug” of fishing? MC


A: It all depends on the type of fishing that we are doing. A lot of planning takes place before we fish in competitions, and we definitely have a strategy. Social angling is a lot more casual and relaxed. BVZ



Q: You have an unlimited budget and you want to plan that dream fishing getaway. Where do you go, and why? MC


A: Two places. Guatamala for sailfishing with my friend Brad Philips, that has a boat and house off the coast, and then the Great Barrier Reef in Ozzie, where I believe the big 1 000lb marlin are. My dream destinations! BVZ



Q: What’s something few people know about you? MC

A: In the early days… WOW… did I get seasick! Man, I must have lived on seasick tablets for the first three years of my deep sea fishing career. It still catches me every now and then. Not cool. BVZ


Another Top Ten for Team Angling & Outdoor World at LBT Fourth Round.


The fourth round of the 2014 Lowveld Bass Trail was held at Kwena Dam on Saturday 10 May. Kwena Dam is a combined gravity and arch type dam on the Crocodile River near Lydenburg, Mpumalanga. The dam is three decades old (established in 1984), has a catchment area of 954 square kilometers, and it serves mainly for drinking water and irrigation purposes.

The attendance record for the 2014 LBT season was equaled at Kwena Dam, with thirty six boats competing. With winter approaching, and Lydenburg being a rather chilly part of Mpumalanga, having that many boats attending is a feather in the hat of the organisers, as well as the participants of the tournament. On top of the usual faces, there were also a few new teams taking part which is always a good sign half way through a series. Fortunately, the weather was merciful and the customary Kwena wind was nowhere to be seen. As a matter of fact, the anglers experienced a magnificent autumn day on the water.


Above: Kwena Dam profile.

The top ten teams’ bags were particularly close, with one fish of one kilo plus separating teams in the top five from the rest of the top ten. A measly five hundred grams separated tenth and fifth! A big “good for you” is due to the winners, and a massive thank you to the dependable sponsors of the trail who continue to make the LBT a gigantic success.


Above: What’s better than a day on the lake with the possibility of winning some cold, hard cash?


Below is the top ten for the fourth round at Kwena, as well as their winnings for the day:

  1. Brayshaw Filtration, 12.000 points; (R5’000 cash.)
  2. Thermocline, 11.215 points; (R3’000 cash.)
  3. Go Fa, 10.855 points; (R2’000 cash.)
  4. Bass Stalker, 10.540 points; (Angling & Outdoor World voucher [R500] + Goya bait hamper + Wittus Angling voucher.)
  5. T & H, 11.480 points; (Midas hamper + Jock & Java voucher.)
  6. Water Analytical Services, 10.445 points; (Midas hamper + Jock & Java voucher.)
  7. Imbongolo, 10.375 points; (Midas hamper.)
  8. Angling & Outdoor World, 10.170 points; (Midas hamper.)
  9. Midas Sport, 10.085 points; (Midas hamper + Jock & Java voucher.)
  10. Loose Goose, 9.980 points; (Midas hamper + Jock & Java voucher.)

Biggest Fish: Brayshaw Filtration, 2.38kg. (R1’800, skins)


Above: Team Brayshaw Filtration, the winners for the day, with a 5-fish-limit of 11 pounds.

Being a somewhat testing dam, the twelve and a half hectare surface area can be fairly intimidating to anglers attempting to find fish on a dam they have little to no experience on, made plain by the fact that only 33% of the contending teams managed to weigh a five bass limit. However, the fish that were caught were respectable size. In fact, the average size of the 92 bass brought to the scales was the best of the season so far at 0.674kg, surpassing even the likes of Injaka Dam! The biggest bass of the day was boated by overall winners, Team Brayshaw Filtration, and weighed a hefty 2.38kg.


Above: Hermanus Snyman getting their bass ready for the scale.


The top fifteen on the overall LBT log after four rounds looks like this:

  1. Midas Sport, 38.1 points (up 2 positions.)
  2. Brayshaw Filtration, 36.77 points (up 4 positions.)
  3. Hazyview Midas, 34.201 points (up 2 positions.)
  4. Aligators, 33.623 points (no change.)
  5. Bullet, 33.375 points (down 3 positions.)
  6. Imbongolo 33.275 points (up 4 positions.)
  7. Sakkie Boerewors, 32.46 points (up 2 positions.)
  8. Pumba, 32.305 points (down 7 positions.)
  9. Angling & Outdoor World, 32.299 points (up 3 positions.)
  10. Thermocline, 31.655 points (up 3 positions.)
  11. Go Fa, 31.655 points (up 4 positions.)
  12. Conway Marine, 29.115 points (down 1 position.)
  13. Chomp, 28.79 points (down 6 positions.)
  14. Free Jack. 26.73 points (up 3 positions.)
  15. Boeta, 26.645 points (down 1 position.)


Above: The biggest bass of the day. A 5 pound 4 ounce slab

Everyone fishing the trail, and anyone following the proceedings closely will note that there were big changes on the overall log. Just take into consideration that although there are eight events during the season, only the best six competitions for each team will count towards the final log that will determine the fifteen boats taking part in the final. That means, if you have fished all eight legs, your worst two results will fall away, which I’m sure will leave us with quite a few surprises on the final log.


Above: Always of utmost importance: making sure the bass are released alive!

Team Angling & Outdoor World, fishing off of a Nitro bass boat powered by a Suzuki DF200, has had a relatively good start to the 2014 Lowveld Bass Trail season. To recap, the team based in Nelspruit, have fished all four events to date, finishing in the top ten three times with a best result of third at Driekoppies Dam in April. They currently occupy ninth place on the log out of fifty four competing teams. The sixteen bass they’ve weighed total 8.3kg at an average of 0.519kg per fish, and their total 2014 LBT earnings (including merchandise bonus) totals around the three thousand Rand mark.


Above: The top 5 placed  teams at Kwena Dam.

At the moment, the final is still scheduled to be held at Maguga Dam in Swaziland. It is going to be held over a Saturday and half a Sunday, on the 11th and 12th of October 2014. There will be a little extra logistical planning to do on behalf of the finalists, including making sure they have valid passports in order, as well as making accommodation bookings well in advance. If there are any anglers who have a real issue with fishing at Maguga Dam for the final (and have an alternative venue in mind), please contact Charl Carey to discuss your concerns and options. He can be contacted at


Above: Vygeboom Dam. The venue for the next round of the LBT.

The next leg of the LBT will take place at Vygeboom Dam on Saturday 14 June 2014, and proceedings for the day will once again take place at Machado Club. Fishing will commence at 7am sharp (an hour later than usual due to the fact that it’s still winter), with the captain’s meeting taking place at 6:45am during which the rules will be discussed and tag numbers will be drawn. Anyone planning to fish the Vygeboom leg must take note that the public launch pad at the dam is not operational, and for this reason the launches at Machado Club will be used at a rate of R100 per boat. This compulsory R100 is payable upon registration along with your R400 entry into the competition. The committee of the LBT will then pay the money over to Machado Club. In the past, the LBT committee has allowed teams to pay such monies over personally, but because of problems at previous competitions, this will no longer be permitted. Even if you plan on launching somewhere else, you will still be liable to pay the extra R100 for the day as everyone will be making use of the facilities during registration and prize giving. If anyone would like overnight accommodation at the venue, please contact Johan van der Spuy of Team Boeta regarding available facilities and costs. He can be contacted on 0715229390.

On a final note, the Maguga Challenge will be taking place from the 4th to the 6th of July 2014. It really is a big competition with prizes for the fifteen biggest bass caught on the Saturday and Sunday. The competition rules allow more than two anglers per team (four maximum) which helps a lot with costs. If you would like an entry form, contact me at and I will gladly forward one to you. Bookings for accommodation can be done directly with Maguga Lodge. Just let them know you are taking part in the competition or you won’t get place as they’ve done a block booking for the event. There are already a few boats from the Nelspruit area taking part and it would be great to have a few more of the LBT regulars there as well.

Don’t forget, all weather is fishing weather!


2014 All Inland Inter Provincial & Mpumalanga Club Championships

Welcome to our up to date blog of the 2014 All Inland Inter Provincial & Mpumalanga Club Championships at Sodwana Bay. We’ll be updating you regularly on the goings on at the competition as the crew of Grande Pé fishes from May 5th to 9th.


As promised, here are the final results of the OET Club Championships held in May at Sodwana Bay.


Heaviest Species: Cuta.

Weight: 11.4kg.

Angler: Ettienne du Preez.

Boat: Reel Shine.


Heaviest Species: Dorado.

Weight: 14.6kg.

Angler: Francois Bezuidenhout.

Boat: Hotline.


Most T&R points individual:

Points: 300 points; released blue marlin day 3.

Angler: Francois Visagie.

Boat: Eventually.


10kg Line Class:


Position: First.

Boat: Wave Spray.

Points: 496.65.

Anglers: Lieb Grabie, Johnny Venter, Johnny Venter Jr & Ernest Venter.


Position: Second.

Boat: Roam Free.

Points: 250.4.

Anglers: Lise Smit, Gert Conradie & Lionel du Preez.


3rd Place: Vacant.


37kg Line Class:


Position: First.

Boat: Eventually.

Points: 300.

Anglers: Francois Visagie, Renier Slabbert & Stefan Kleinhaus.


Position: Second.

Boat: Black Magic.

Points: 300.

Anglers: Lappies Labuschagne, Bakkies Bohmer, Kobus Engelbrecht & Jan Joubert.


Position: Third.

Boat: Backline.

Points: 18.89.

Anglers: Sarel Allers, Craig Smith, Wessel Grimbeek & Herman Wepener.



And here are the final results for the All Inland Provincial Competition


All Inland Clubs:


Position: First.

Boat: Wave Spray.

Team: Taratibo.

Province: Mpumalanga.

Points: 496.65.

Anglers: Lieb Grabie, Johnny Venter, Johnny Venter Jr & Ernest Venter.


Position: Second.

Boat: Black Magic.

Team: KMSHK.

Province: Mpumalanga.

Points: 300.

Anglers: Lappies Labuschagne, Bakkies Bohmer, Kobus Engelbrecht & Jan Joubert.


Position: Third.

Boat: Bollelyn.

Team: Albatros.

Province: Mpumalanga.

Points: 2.49.

Anglers: Marthinus Oosthuizen, Johan van Heerden, Willie Clarke, Gerrie Human.


All Inland Provincial:


Position: First.

Boat: Eventually.

Province: Mpumalanga Blue.

Points: 300.

Anglers: Francois Visagie, Renier Slabbert & Stefan Kleinhaus.


Position: Second.

Boat: Roam Free.

Province: Mpumalanga.

Points: 50.04.

Anglers: Lise Smit, Gert Conradie & Lionel du Preez.


Position: Third.

Boat: Backline.

Province: S Gauteng.

Points: 18.89

Anglers: Sarel Allers, Craig Smith, Wessel Grimbeek & Herman Wepener.



Posted on Monday 12 May at 09:18am: The 2014 All Inland Inter Provincial & Mpumalanga Club Championships at Sodwana Bay came to an end on Friday 9 May. Full results for the competition will be posted as soon as they become available.

Posted on Friday 9 May at 12:35pm: The fishing in Sodwana seems to be pretty tough at the moment. Got some feedback from Werner last night and apparently conditions are still tough with rough seas etc. The top three spots at the moment are occupied by ‘Eventually’, ‘Roam Free’ and ‘Wave Spray.’

Posted on Thursday 8 May at 09:02am: The weather improved a lot since Tuesday, and the teams managed to get some fishing time in. The guys aboard Grande Pé got one skipjack yesterday and rigged it for live bait. They had a bill fish hit but no hookup.

Posted on Tuesday 6 May at 13:43pm: Not much else for the guys to do today but get some rigs built before the fishing hopefully gets underway tomorrow, and make sure dehydration doesn’t set in!


Posted on Tuesday 6 May at 08:39am: Well it seems like there won’t be any fishing today either. Conditions have not improved enough, and the officials have deemed it unsafe to go out to sea. Hopes are high that the teams will be able to get some fishing done tomorrow.

Posted on Monday 5 May at 11:31am: Despite the blow-out on day one, the chaps on Grande Pé had a bit of excitement hooking into a Blue Marlin early in the day. Unfortunately, the fish that fell for a pink softhead smoker, wasn’t on long enough for Werner to even get strapped in before it became unbuttoned. Next time!

Posted on Monday 5 May at 11:03am: Some not so good news for the guys fishing the 2014 All Inland Inter Provincial & Mpumalanga Club Championships at Sodwana Bay. The boats have been called off the water due to unsafe weather conditions. Near gale winds of 16m/s forced fishing to come to a premature end. However, conditions are predicted to improve slightly tomorrow, with very light breezy conditions expected by Wednesday.

Posted on Monday 5 May at 10:06am: Launch time. It was an early start this morning for Peter Zonneveld, Werner Wessels (both of Angling & Outdoor World), Dolf Botha and Marsel Slabbert, who are representing the Nelspruit District Angling Club (NDAC) at the 2014 All Inland Inter Provincial & Mpumalanga Club Championships at Sodwana Bay.


Don’t skimp on your fishing line!


I was recently chatting to my coworker, Werner Wessels, after one of his fishing trips, and again realised after hearing his story just how important it is to ensure you’re fishing with the best line your pocket can manage. Here’s his version of the events in his own words.

“Like most serious anglers, I have been fishing since I can remember and should know how important line is. Occasionally you decide to go for the slightly cheaper option even though the voice in the back of your mind warns you not to. This happened again a couple of days ago to yours truly. After spooling my spinning reel with a cheaper 14lb line we set off to Injaka dam. After launching the boat in the early rays of the sun just rising on the horizon, I decided to start my attack with a double Colorado bladed, white spinnerbait. I made the effort to double check my knot and started casting to the abundant timber structure in the dam. We were fishing deep water just off the bridge with some old trees around us. On my fourth cast I let the spinnerbait sink down to the bottom and left it for about 5 seconds before retrieving slowly. Suddenly I felt that familiar resistance on the retrieve and I set the hook. The monster fish swam straight to the boat. About 5 meters from the boat she surfaced and turned before diving deep. I applied the necessary pressure to turn her. She jumped out of the water and while shaking her massive head the line just snapped. With disbelief I had to watch her swim away with the spinnerbait and about 2 meters of mono in her mouth. I was so disgusted in myself that I sat arguing with myself for at least twenty minutes for not purchasing a better line. Know better and layout the few extra Rands. It is not only so you don’t lose that monster fish, but also not to ruin your whole day and weeks after.”


Above: Don’t drop fish because of inferior line. Photo courtesy of



A depressing tale that I’m sure most bass anglers can relate to. Despair not! There is help on the horizon. Below I’m going to detail a couple of tried, tested and trusted line options that are within most anglers financial means.

Just based on pure sales figures, most bass anglers are still opting for monofilament lines over the more expensive fluorocarbons. If you take a look at the more serious bass anglers out there, you’ll find that most of them hardly use mono line anymore. The reason is simple, fluorocarbons are just as manageable as mono lines, and the better brands don’t have the same “memory” issues as the cheaper options. I’m also going to advise opting for either full mono or fluoro instead of copolymers or fluoro coated lines for your various fishing applications.

What brand of fluorocarbon lines are best you ask? Having been in the fishing industry for many years, and having fished actively for bass for near on 15 years, there’s one brand that I really trust. If I may borrow the words of passionate bass angler Kevin Scarselli for a moment, “That brand is Seaguar. Seaguar makes AbrazX and InvisX (also Tatsu), their top performing fluorocarbons.  All are very good. I use both a lot and don’t really favor one over the other too much. If you want the cat’s meow, Seaguar makes the best in my opinion.”

These are a few of the lines the guys at the shop (including me) fish:

Seaguar AbrazX: “Rocks, weeds, docks. Hit the heavy cover with confidence. Now your whole spool can handle the toughest conditions with a main line fluorocarbon designed with unparalleled abrasion resistance. AbrazX — Fish won’t see it, stuff can’t break it.” –


Above: Seaguar AbrazX. Photo courtesy of



Seaguar InvizX: Soft, supple and castable. Superior sensitivity. Fill your spool with a main line specially designed to dominate fresh water. It’s virtually invisible, with advanced hook-setting power, smooth casting and great knot strength.” –


Above: Seaguar InvizX. Photo courtesy of



Seaguar Tatsu: “Tatsu – Japanese for dragon – delivers an amazingly strong, yet supple, fluorocarbon line unlike any other through a superior, state-of-the-art double-structure process. It fuses two custom, 100% fluorocarbon resins, creating the world’s only double-structure main line. Fill your spool with Tatsu and fishfierce”-


Above: Seaguar Tatsu. Photo courtesy of



If you are gonna fish monofilament lines, say for spinnerbaits, hard-bodied topwaters, buzzbaits and chatterbaits, still stick with Seaguar, and purchase a spool of their Senshi mono.

Seaguar Senshi: “Senshi – Japanese for Warrior – is a premium monofilament that provides the ideal balance of strength and sensitivity so you can tackle heavy cover with confidence. This soft, sensitive, thin-diameter line with virtually no stretch easily detects structure, lure action and strikes for improved catch ratios.” –


Above: Seaguar Senshi. Photo courtesy of



Seaguar Smackdown Tournament Braid: “This next generation Seaguar braid is so thin that 20 lb test has the diameter of 6 lb monofilament! Smackdown Braid is made with 8 ultra-thin, micro-weave strands in a round, smooth-casting profile with extra sensitivity. It provides exceptional knot and tensile strength with unparalleled abrasion resistance.” –


Above: Seaguar Smackdown Braid. Photo courtesy of



Try some of these lines, and if you’re not happy with the results, I’ll be really bowled over.

See you on the water. Tight lines


Team AOW Climb Four Spots On LBT Log

The third round of the Lowveld Bass Trail was hosted at Driekoppies Dam on Saturday 12 April 2014. Driekoppies, a 1870ha dam, was in the past known for its population of colossal lunker largemouth bass. During the past few seasons, however, these big fish have been on the decline, and the dam is teeming with small juvenile bass. Expectations weren’t too high, but despite the fact that the dam was 100% full, and quite stained overall, the 27 boats that entered had some respectable fishing.

Two bass over 3kg hit the scales during the weigh in. 126 bass were weighed with a combined weight of 46.114kg. The average weight was a mere 0.366kg, the lowest for the LBT so far this season, testament to the overabundance of undersized bass.


Above: The top three teams at Driekoppies.


The biggest bag and biggest bass were caught by Nicky Stapelberg of one-man-team Team Bullet with a fish of 3.475kg and a bag of 4.340kg. Charl Carey and Michael Cronje, of Team Angling & Outdoor, caught a five-bass limit weighing 6 pounds, 7 ounces (2.935kg) to finish third, bumping them up the overall log from 16th to 12th out of 48 teams, and back in to contention to fish the final at Maguga Dam, Swaziland, in October. Early in the morning, the team farmed an estimated 2.5kg bucketmouth hooked on a Natural Red coloured Spro Bronzeye Baby Pop. The bass annihilated the topwater bait as it was twitched over some floating grass, but seconds later it was off after a disappointing line break. Had the fish weighed, it would’ve probably pushed Team AOW’s bag to around 5.1kg. Heartbreaking, but that’s fishing!


Above: Nicky Stapelberg with the biggest bass of the day, 3.475kg.


LBT Results Top 15. Round 3. Driekoppies Dam:

  1. Team Bullet: 5 fish, 4.340kg, 11.340 points.
  2. Conway Marine: 5 fish, 4.255kg, 11.255 points.
  3. Angling & Outdoor: 5 fish, 2.935kg, 9.935 points.
  4. Bent Rods: 5 fish, 2.360kg, 9.360 points.
  5. Go Fa: 5 fish, 2.270kg, 9.270 points.
  6. Brayshaw: 5 fish, 2.145kg, 9.145 points.
  7. Hazyview Midas: 5 fish, 2.041kg, 9.041 points.
  8. Rugged: 5 fish, 2.040kg, 9.040 points.
  9. Visarend: 5 fish, 1.960kg, 8.960 points.
  10. Aligator: 5 fish, 1.893kg, 8.893 points.
  11. Long Tom: 5 fish, 1.880kg, 8.880 points.
  12. Pumba: 5 fish, 1.850kg, 8.850 points.
  13. Mattador: 5 fish, 1.680kg, 8.680 points.
  14. Bass Stalker: 5 fish, 1.575kg, 8.575 points.
  15. Ambassadors: 5 fish, 1.495kg, 8.495 points.

After the event, Michael Cronje commented, “We were hooking pecker snots all day, and must’ve boated at least forty. The key to catching the bigger keepers for us was throwing spinnerbaits with the correct skirt and blade combinations. We were catching them off shallow grass clumps in bays in the main dam. We were looking for reaction bites. Instead of soaking our baits in one spot for an extended period of time, we moved quickly to get dialed in on the bass’ preference.”

The next round is to be held at Kwena Dam, Lydenburg, on Saturday the 10th of May 2014. As the season changes steadily from autumn to winter, as of round 4, fishing will start at 7am with captain’s meetings starting at 6:45am.

Lowveld Bass Trail Log after Round 3 (Top 15 only):

  1. Pumba 30.305 points.
  2. Team Bullet 28.785 points.
  3. Midas Sport 28.015 points.
  4. Aligators 26.113 points.
  5. Hazyview Midas 25.051 points.
  6. Brayshaw 24.77 points.
  7. Chomp 24.375 points.
  8. Rugged 24.375 points.
  9. Sakkie Boerewors 23.12 points.
  10. Imbongolo 22.905 points.
  11. Conway Marine 22.365 points.
  12. Angling & Outdoor 22.129 points.
  13. Thermocline 20.44 points.
  14. Boeta 19.495 points.
  15. Go Fa 18.800 points.


Above: Michael Cronje with the two biggest fish of Team AOW’s bag.


Team Angling & Outdoor would like to extend special thanks to Angling & Outdoor World, Suzuki Marine SA, Netbait, Salmo, JJ’s Magic, Penetrator Hooks, Pro Tungsten, Goya, Seaguar, Halco SA, Lowrance SA, Big Bite Baits, Spro, Norman Lures, Strike King, Z-Man, Mustad, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Okuma and Rod Glove, whose products are making fishing the LBT this season a pleasure.

FishTalk… with Preston Dale

by Michael Cronje

During this installment of FishTalk, we’ll spend some time chatting to renowned bass angler, and proprietor of Goya Trading, Preston Dale. It’s fair to say that Preston can hold his own with a rod and reel in hand, and his fishing achievements include the following. Zimbabwe Junior Bass Colours. Zimbabwe Presidents Bass Colours . Western Province Colours – SA Nationals. Inanda Bass Classic – Team Winners. BETT – KZN Tournament Wins. BETT – KZN Top 10 Finalist (two years running.) Let’s find out a bit more about how and why Preston does what he does.


Q: Everyone has a “secret” fishing hole. What’s yours? MC

A: Having been fortunate enough to fish on many of Southern Africa’s most sought after fresh waters for many different species, this is one tough question. Bass fishing venue’s that hold a special place for me would include Darwendale Dam’s topwater zara spook and buzzbait bite (Zimbabwe), Goedetrouw Dam’s powerful and rugged largemough (KZN) and not forgetting Clanwilliam Dam’s feisty and acrobatic smallmouth (CT). Heartfelt tiger fish venues would include spinning the Black Rock region of the Zambezi, and drifting live bait, spinning and trawling the magnificent Kariba Dam. Although only spending a limited amount of time on the ocean, Bazaruto( Mozambique) or Pemba (Kenya) would be my preferred return venue’s to target. PD


Q: How is fishing in the above fishing hole different from other places you’ve fished? What makes it special? MC

A: The quality of the respective fish found in these fishing hole’s is a major part of what makes them so special to me. The surrounding landscapes, wildlife/birdlife, sunrises and sunsets of these venues are also major contributing factors for the need to return to these special spots as often as life allows. PD


Q: What do you believe to be the keys to your success as a business owner and tournament angler? MC

A: competent team of staff in each of the respective fields and product innovation is without doubt, two of the major keys to maintaining a successful business in the highly traded Sportfishing industry. Continually offering innovative, new, tried and tested, market driven product lines keeps one ahead of the competitors. As a tournament bass angler, the keys to my success would include – confidence in being able to fish most techniques fairly successfully, as the seasons and present fishing conditions affect the bass. PD


Q: What do you like about fishing tournaments? MC

A: The mental challenge it brings, as it is always changing. Tournament fishing is not about ‘beating’ the next angler, but rather putting my angling skills against the fish found in the dam – hopefully managing to adapt/pattern/work out the fish on that day under present conditions, better than the rest of the competition field. Tournament fishing does bring an adrenalin rush. The start of the event when all the boats are lined up waiting for take off, the first few casts of the day, landing a kicker during the day as well as the final weigh-in if you are in close contention for top places. PD


Q: What’s the biggest five-fish limit you’ve ever brought to the scales? MC

A: 15.8kg (34 pounds, 12 ounces) is the biggest limited I’ve brought to the scales during a tournament. PD


Q: What has been a highlight for you in the 2013/14 fishing season? MC

A: Highlight of the 2013 season, was taking a break from fishing the local tournament circuit and giving myself the necessary time to focus on testing new products and gaining confidence in new techniques new to SA waters. Although not having fished the tournament circuit during 2013, I did still spend many days on the water. For 2014, probably look to fish a few select open tournaments to get the adrenalin going again and to learn more. PD


Q: Without giving away some tournament secret, what lure/rig is the first you tie on in new bass waters and why? MC

A: Weightless ‘Senko’. I started tournament bass angling in Zimbabwe, during the time when the weightless ‘senko’ style baits very first entered the tournament market (many years back) and hence have spent time alongside and learning this technique from the very best of the best bass anglers in Africa. It is a highly versatile bait! One can adapt the weightless Senko style of fishing to most tournament waters (Finesse/heavy. Big baits/small Baits. Dark colours/natural Colours.) It is a great bait for catching assorted size keepers and 90% of the time when fishing weightless, I will choose to fish a weightless Senko style bait over a weightless fluke style bait. PD


Q: Everyone’s got a “one-that-got-away” story. What’s yours? MC

A: There have been many over the years, but a trip to Goedetrouw Dam during 2013 is one I will touch on. I was testing out a new soft swimbait and made a long cast which landed up sitting inside a small thorn bush, which sat in about four feet of water. As the cast was a lengthy one, my fishing partner jumped on the trolling motor to get a little closer to free the bait. The bait was sitting 30cm or so from the water surface and I was shaking the bait in the tree as we approached to try and free it, when suddenly a monster fish breached the surface in an attempt to eat the bait which sat in the little bush. When suddenly the fish came up, it’s head was almost as big as the little bush that the bait was hooked in. Unfortunately, the monster did not connect with the lure when it breached, but it did show half its body which left both myself and my fishing partner gasping for air and in a state of awe. We both have personal bests over 5kgs and this fish was just huge! I was only fishing 12lb line (schoolboy error), so needless to say the fish would have made short work of breaking me off in the brush, even if it did hook up. PD


Q: What advice would you give to an aspiring bass tournament angler? MC

A: ‘Learn The Bass.’ This means, spend your time and resources learning how bass adapt and move with each weather season, each type of water, different baitfish found in tournament venues. These days, the internet has helped speed up this learning process considerably with having more information freely available on bass, but nothing beats personal time on the water. The top of the range tow vehicles, boats, rods, tackle and finders do make for comfortable tournament angling, but it is not a major factor in participating and being a successful tournament angler. ‘Learn The Bass’ and you will find your way to the top of any field of anglers you compete against. PD


Q: What’s something few people know about you? MC

A: Through the Sportfishing tackle industry, I have been fortunate enough to have visited all three of the major world wide sportfishing shows (ICAST, EFFTEX and ChinaFish), meeting personally with many of the worlds most recognized anglers and companies. Shared a dinner and drinks with Dean Rojas during an ICAST show and got to pick his brain for hours on end about tournament bass fishing… a true gent of the sport! PD


Fish Talk with ….. Daniel Factor

by Michael Cronje

Today I continue my fortnightly column with a look into the fishing career of 24 year old flyfisher, Daniel Factor. Currently the sales manager at Stealth Fly Fishing, Daniel comes from Johannesburg and represents Gauteng North in competitive flyfishing circles. In fact, he has captained this provincial team since 2011. He’s competed in three senior and one junior World Championships and one Oceania Championships. On top of that, he’s fished three youth, and six senior South African Championships, winning individual Gold, Silver and Bronze plus six team medals. At the recent 2014 SA Fly Fishing National Championships he took individual Gold and team Gold. Let’s get stuck into the questions then.


Q: Can you describe how you developed your love for fishing? What was the catalyst that started it all for you? MC
A: I can’t put an age on this, but I would guess I was seven years old or so. All I can remember was it took one fish and then the rest of my future was decided. I think it was the excitement and uncontrollable tension that hooked me. I am not proud to say that my first fish on fly was in a breeding pen at a trout farm with fish fighting for my fly but we all have to start somewhere. DF

Q: How long have you been flyfishing? MC

A: I started flyfishing around 6 months after I started bait fishing, the catch and keep rules at trout farms got really expensive after I figured out trout eggs and a sinker. DF

Q: With such a demanding schedule, how often do you get to fish? MC

A: I try to split up my time on the water and go through stages depending on the domestic and international tournament schedules. I spend at least 150 days of the year on the water. I really do believe that there is no better preparation than just being on the water and developing that sixth sense. For about 8 weeks before a tournament I spend as much time trout fishing as possible. In between championships I enjoy largemouth yellowfish and saltwater flyfishing. DF


Q: Who is your biggest inspiration outside of angling? MC

A: I don’t know much outside of angling (laughs.) DF
Q: Tell us about some of your favourite Mpumalanga fishing spots. MC

A: I would have to say Verlorenkloof in between Belfast and Lydenburg. This spot has the finest trout river fishing in Mpumalanga. DF

Q: Has there been an epic battle with a particular fish that stands out in your mind? MC

A: I would say the three monster fish at Loch Logan a few weeks back. I landed three fish on light 5lb Airflo G3 fluorocarbon. This was the toughest sector at the last SA National flyfishing Championship. I had to step down to get these fish to commit to the fly. These fish helped me win individual gold at the championship. DF
Q: How do you feel is the best way to excite South Africans about flyfishing in the years to come? MC

A: Go with the guys that know their stuff, and the waters. There is nothing more boring than not catching fish and getting it wrong. Learn as much as you can and increase that catch rate. DF


Q: What’s your go to summertime fly for trout when nothing’s working? MC

A: The Copper Hopper. DF
Q: What do you consider your primary fishing strengths? MC

A: European nymphing and CDC dry fly work. DF

Q: What’s something few people know about you? MC

A: I do enjoy some bait fishing. Sliding out heads for sharks is top of my list. DF